History of Animals
To shell-fish in general drought is unwholesome. During dry
weather they decrease in size and degenerate in quality; and it is
during such weather that the red scallop is found in more than usual
abundance. In the Pyrrhaean Strait the clam was exterminated, partly
by the dredging-machine used in their capture, and partly by
long-continued droughts. Rainy weather is wholesome to the
generality of shellfish owing to the fact that the sea-water then
becomes exceptionally sweet. In the Euxine, owing to the coldness of
the climate, shellfish are not found: nor yet in rivers, excepting a
few bivalves here and there. Univalves, by the way, are very apt to
freeze to death in extremely cold weather. So much for animals that
live in water.
To turn to quadrupeds, the pig suffers from three diseases, one of
which is called branchos, a disease attended with swellings about
the windpipe and the jaws. It may break out in any part of the body;
very often it attacks the foot, and occasionally the ear; the
neighbouring parts also soon rot, and the decay goes on until it
reaches the lungs, when the animal succumbs. The disease develops with
great rapidity, and the moment it sets in the animal gives up
eating. The swineherds know but one way to cure it, namely, by
complete excision, when they detect the first signs of the disease.
There are two other diseases, which are both alike termed craurus. The
one is attended with pain and heaviness in the head, and this is the
commoner of the two, the other with diarrhoea. The latter is
incurable, the former is treated by applying wine fomentations to
the snout and rinsing the nostrils with wine. Even this disease is
very hard to cure; it has been known to kill within three or four
days. The animal is chiefly subject to branchos when it gets extremely
fat, and when the heat has brought a good supply of figs. The
treatment is to feed on mashed mulberries, to give repeated warm
baths, and to lance the under part of the tongue.
Pigs with flabby flesh are subject to measles about the legs,
neck, and shoulders, for the pimples develop chiefly in these parts.
If the pimples are few in number the flesh is comparatively sweet, but
if they be numerous it gets watery and flaccid. The symptoms of
measles are obvious, for the pimples show chiefly on the under side of
the tongue, and if you pluck the bristles off the chine the skin
will appear suffused with blood, and further the animal will be unable
to keep its hind-feet at rest. Pigs never take this disease while they
are mere sucklings. The pimples may be got rid of by feeding on this
kind of spelt called tiphe; and this spelt, by the way, is very good
for ordinary food. The best food for rearing and fattening pigs is
chickpeas and figs, but the one thing essential is to vary the food as
much as possible, for this animal, like animals in general lights in a
change of diet; and it is said that one kind of food blows the
animal out, that another superinduces flesh, and that another puts
on fat, and that acorns, though liked by the animal, render the
flesh flaccid. Besides, if a sow eats acorns in great quantities, it
will miscarry, as is also the case with the ewe; and, indeed, the
miscarriage is more certain in the case of the ewe than in the case of
the sow. The pig is the only animal known to be subject to measles.
Dogs suffer from three diseases; rabies, quinsy, and sore feet.
Rabies drives the animal mad, and ary animal whatever, excepting
man, will take the disease if bitten by a dog so afflicted; the
disease is fatal to the dog itself, and to any animal it may bite, man
excepted. Quinsy also is fatal to dogs; and only a few recover from
disease of the feet. The camel, like the dog, is subject to rabies.
The elephant, which is reputed to enjoy immunity from all other
illnesses, is occasionally subject to flatulency.